1989 Plymouth Reliant LE 2.5 TBI from North America


Cheap, inexpensive car to purchase and operate, great fun


Shortly after purchasing the car, a cap on the end of the camshaft popped off, causing oil to spray all over the place.

Shortly after that incident, the timing belt broke at about 103,000.

General Comments:

Great first car, extremely cheap insurance and great on gas, I can always count on it starting first try and would not hesitate to drive it cross country. There is extremely cheap parts that you rarely have to purchase because of the reliability.

The K-car is quite obviously not made for performance, although the ample low end torque of the 2.5 makes it feel like a lot less of a slug than it actually is.

The light steering and soft suspension make it a comfortable car to drive, and makes it feel more like a larger classic North American car.

I have no complaints about the soft but supportive comfortable seats; my friends like riding in my car for that exact reason. There is also great leg and headroom in the front.

The car feels a lot bigger on the inside than it actually is, there is great visibility, there is a tight turning radius and light steering, all these things make it really easy to drive.

I love this car, I would buy another in a heartbeat, it is so iconic, and I get so many people come up to me and tell me about their great experience with their k-cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th November, 2008

1989 Plymouth Reliant le 2.2 liter from North America


Built like a tank


I have had to replace the head gasket twice on this car however it has been told to me by various individuals this is a common problem for this type of engine. The first replacement did not take place until around 90,000 miles.

I have had a few problems losing hubcaps, but again this did not take place until recently within the past few years and I believe age has something to do with it.

The climate control lights as well as the reverse lights work at random.

The factory am/fm radio of which I still use requires a little warm up time in order to function to its best ability.

Minor rust has began to set in, in small patches on the rocker panels and trunk deck however after 18 years of sitting outside I cannot blame this car.

The radiator and all accessories were replaced about 5000 miles ago.

Other minor repairs have taken place as I am sure there are to come in the future with a car of this age and mileage.

General Comments:

While I have mentioned a laundry list of negatives, there are so many positives associated with this car as well. To begin this car has been involved in over five collisions of which only one has resulted in a trip to the body shop (the car was less than a year old). The paint on this car still shines in the sunlight just as if it were a day old. The interior is flawless thanks to careful use and the seats still feel comfortable. I am one of the privleged few to have one of these cars with a center shifter on the floor. To be perfectly honest this car does not have the greatest performance and power, but who really buys one of these cars to win a race. This car was intended to last for a long time and to take a beating without fail. Lately I have had to sink a fair amount of money into this car to keep it in mechanical order, but in return I have a great gas saver that has been paid off for many years. My only true wish is that I could have one of these cars brand new right now.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th January, 2007

31st Jan 2007, 05:12

I wish they still made the K car. Chrysler got it right with them. when you own one it helps to be a shade tree mechanic.

IF, your car is going to blow a head gasket it will usu. do it between 118 and 130K miles. The rubber timing belt should be replaced every 60K miles. The Bosch starter is very hard to get at and they go as well. The good news is that junk yards have plenty of parts for them. Remove the oil filler cap on top of the engine and feel for blow-by (a great indicator of compression).

The 2.2 liter was awesome, I would avoid the turbo. The mileage will vary from the low 20s and up. Turning the ignition key to on/off three times will give you the engine codes. Occasionally, they will leak oil from the pan gasket. If replacing the pan gasket it would be a good time to change the oil pump. Individual cars also may have other wear issues such as struts, CV joints, carrier bearing. However, give me a K car with a 2.2 and 5 speed anyday assuming the clutch is good you will get incredible mileage. Driving to maximize fuel economy I once got 43 mpg with one.

The interior and seats are comfortable. The cars are very well balanced and ride well on snow for you Northeners. In summary, the key is care and being able to do your own repairs. I wish I could find another one.

23rd Mar 2007, 06:45

I have a 1988 Plymouth reliant and it is a great car. It only has 97,000 miles on it with little rust. There are only two problems with it. The gas tank has a small leak about half way up the tank, and the speedometer isn't working. I just got the car on the 22nd of march and I am mechanically able to fix the minor flaws in the car. Other than that is a beautiful car.